Stephen Foley: Adverts with iPadding

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The Independent Online

US Outlook: By this time next week, we over this side of the pond will be able to get our hands on the Apple iPad. My hunch is that a lot of them will get smashed. The device looks fiddly to handle, easy to drop. And I think a few people will get so frustrated it can only do a fraction of the things a laptop can that they will hurl it to the floor.

It's also only fair to warn magazine publishers that the burst of enthusiasm that they've witnessed from advertisers, who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to take ad space in iPad versions of magazines and newspapers, is a one-off. Ad executives obsess about "media firsts", whether it be pushing the boundaries of product placement, or sponsoring something previously commercial free, or latching on to a new technology.

The prices of advertisements on publishers' iPad apps won't stay at these heady levels. In fact, they might not stop falling. The experience of online marketing has been that consumers barely notice ads, and rarely interact with them, which is why agencies spend so much time trying to spark viral campaigns instead of buying space from publishers.

Magazines think they can charge for iPad ads like they do for space in their print editions. More likely, they will find the parallel is with the web – and that's not going to be good for business.

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